Depression in teens and young adults doesn’t consist of just moodiness and bouts of sadness or melancholy. Major Depressive Disorder is a serious problem that has the potential to affect many aspects of an individual’s life. While many well-adjusted adults have trouble learning how to deal with depression, it is even more difficult for teens and young adults. Left undiagnosed or untreated, depression in teens and young adults can lead to serious, harmful behaviors, such as substance abuse, promiscuity, self-injuring or mutilation, violence, or even suicide.
How to Deal with Depression: Signs of Depression in Teens and Young Adults
Because signs of depression can appear differently in younger individuals than they do in adults, depression is too often overlooked or undiagnosed in teens and young adults. The following are signs and symptoms of depression in teens and young adults.
- Hostility, aggression, and persistent irritability
- Changes in weight, eating patterns, and appetite (significant weight loss or gain, binge eating, hoarding food, avoiding food, not eating enough, etc.)
- Lethargy or a significant decrease in energy
- School failure/difficulties in school, a drop in grades, skipping school, or frequent absences
- Defiant or rebellious behaviors
- A sudden change in peer groups
- Difficulties with one’s existing peer group
- Difficulties making decisions
- Family conflict or strained family relationships
- Feelings of guilt or inadequacy
- Low self-esteem
- Changes in sleep patterns (excessive sleeping or difficulties sleeping)
- Wanting to die or having suicidal thoughts
- Self-injury, self-harm, or self-mutilation (cutting, burning, etc.)
- Social withdrawal
- Frequent complaints of physical ailments, visits to the school nurse, or trips to the physician (headaches, stomach aches, body pain)
It is vital to keep in mind that some of these symptoms of depression in teens and young adults can also be normal teenage behavior, or indicative of another mental illness or problem. For example, a teen who has low self-esteem and has dropping grades may have an undiagnosed learning disability. This is why severe depression can only be diagnosed by a trained, licensed health care provider or mental health professional who knows how to deal with depression in teens and young adults.
However, if you have reviewed the signs of depression in teens and young adults, and suspect that your child may be depressed, it is extremely important to act quickly.
- Talk to your son or daughter, express your concern, and find out more about his or her feelings.
- Obtaining help from a credible mental health professional is vital to ensuring that your son or daughter develops the tools needed to learn how to deal with depression.
To learn more about depression treatment options and programs for young adults with depression, download our free white paper, Depression and Anxiety in Teens and Young Adults.
About Aspiro Adventure Therapy
Aspiro Adventure’s Wilderness Therapy program was uniquely crafted to assist students and their families in creating lasting, life-long emotional changes through compassionate, intentional, research-backed, and safe outdoor adventure therapy programs. The mental health professionals at Aspiro Adventure understand individuals don’t come with instructions, and every student is unique, capable, and amazing in their own right. Aspiro Adventure focuses on helping adolescents, young adults, and their families through difficulties that occur when various behavioral, cognitive, or developmental issues are present. Research shows that engaging individuals on a personal level with strategic and intentional activities will aid in developing the tools and skills necessary to engage life in a healthy and positive way.